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Battling Blanket Rubs


My horse always gets really bad blanket rubs – do you have any tips on preventing those, either by choosing a certain type of blanket, or by treating the hair/skin? – Jamie R. via Facebook

Even though there are numerous different brands of blankets on the market it can still be hard to find one that fits your horse perfectly and prevent those annoying shoulder and wither rubs. From experience I can personally say I will always go with RAMBO. They are worth their weight in gold and have great durability qualities. Now a days I do not believe you need to have a set of stable (or indoor) blankets as well as turnout blankets. Who has time these days to be switching blankets continuously thru the day?!! The quality of many turnouts is so high that even when exposed to severe wet conditions the horse remains dry and comfortable. Rambo offers a different price range of blankets including Rhino and Amigo. These are not as durable as Rambo, however they offer the same great fit. So if you are on a tight budget I would still promote this brand, and hopefully your horse is not a playful one!!

When fitting a blanket to your horse, you want to make sure the shoulder area is not so large that the front closures loop towards the bottom of the chest. This type of ill fit allows the blanket to ride back on the horse, becoming tight in the center of the chest and over the withers. This is not only uncomfortable but this type of movement leads to those problematic shoulder rubs. Some blankets come with the withers cut away which can help with high wither horses however some tightening around the shoulder might still occur. I like my blankets to sit well in front of the wither (towards the ears) to prevent any rubbing.

You may have one of those horses that no matter what brand of blanket you use they always ride back and are therefore prone to shoulder rubs. If that’s the case, here are a few tips to try and prevent losing all that hair:

  • Try to find blankets that are lined at the front with soft smooth materials. These will cause less friction on the coat.
  • Apply daily to the shoulders some sort of hair growth product. My two top choices are:
    1. Super gro – this product can be found in your local Walmart in the ethnic hair care aisle.
    2. Eqyss Mega-Tek Rebuilder – more expensive than super gro, but awesome at improving coat, tails and manes.


  • As soon as you start to blanket on a regular basis, use some form of conditioner spray on the shoulders to prevent friction. I will often spray Show Sheen on shoulders to keep the hair slick.
  • Using a towel or leg wrap, fold over the front of the chest closures. This helps to keep the blanket forward and prevents those pressure points that the closure causes when it rides back.
  • The towel I used in the following picture is a little long but hopefully you can see how I secure the towel to get a good fit.


Hope some of these tips are helpful. Stay warm!!

Emma Ford

Emma Ford is one of the most respected grooms in US Eventing. Born and raised in the UK, Emma came to the US in 1998 to groom for top eventer Adrienne Iorio. After seven years with Adrienne, Emma moved to True Prospect Farm to work with five-time Olympian and 13-time USEA Leading Rider of the Year, Phillip Dutton. During her tenure with Phillip, Emma cared for many famous equine athletes including Connaught, TruLuck, Woodburn, and Mystery Whisper. She’s groomed at Burghley, Blenheim and Boekelo, cared for horses at the 2006 and 2010 World Championships, 2007 Pan Am Games, and 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and groomed at Rolex Kentucky and Fair Hill International every year since 2001. And now she’s here to help you! Submit your grooming questions and Emma just may be able to teach you a few of her tricks!

Posted in Ask The Groom

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One comment on “Battling Blanket Rubs
  1. Sarah says:

    You might want to add a “spandex” type undergarment. I use a shoulder guard. It works very well.

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